THE parting of ways between the two major partners of the ruling coalition may lead to new political alignments ahead of the presidential election and in the days to come there is a likelihood of the coming together of some strange bedfellows. The PPP, despite being in a comfortable position to grab the Presidency, is lobbying hard to woo the forces it had been accusing in the past of involvement in Benazir Bhutto's murder. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who met Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervez Elahi in Islamabad the other day, sought their support for Mr Zardari besides discussing with them the possibility of the PML-Q's cooperation with the PPP at the Centre as well as in Punjab. This was the first interaction between the two political rivals and it took place at a time when a PPP delegation was holding crucial talks with Mian Nawaz Sharif in Lahore. But what seems somewhat strange is the PML(N) developing a soft corner for its erstwhile nemesis. A party meeting in Lahore welcomed Senator Mushahid Hussain's observation that there was a possibility of the reunification of the PML(Q) and the PML(N) and stressed the need for expediting efforts in this direction. A news report indicated that participants were generally of the view that the merger of the two factions would be good, both for the country and democracy. It appears to be more a change of heart than merely a change in tactics. And what is significant is that the discussion took place in the presence of Mian Nawaz and other hawks who have been publicly castigating the Q-leadership for its treachery and declined to pardon the turncoats. But in the changed circumstances, they may feel compelled to do so. The Sharif brothers have repeatedly said that they are prepared to sacrifice the Punjab government for the sake of the judges' issue. But this can at best be regarded as a political statement. They would be desperately trying to retain the power they got back after a long period in exile. Mian Nawaz and his colleagues know that if the PPP withdraws its support in Punjab and joins hands with the PML(Q), it will be in a position to form the government in the province. Punjab PPP Ministers have already started talking about an impending scenario where their party will be in the driving seat. Now after the split from the PPP, Mian Nawaz may feel constrained to close ranks with his erstwhile colleagues in order to avert a possible crisis for his provincial government. Perhaps having suffered a lot because of his obduracy, he might have learnt the lesson that flexibility holds the key to success in politics.